Harris County, others, commission $500k “study” on what to do with the Astrodome

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Harris County, others paying $500,000 for another Dome study

“We have to make a decision” on the Dome, County Judge Ed Emmett said. “I wanted us to make our decision this year. They’re going to look at every option there is and come back with the recommendation. It’s about time we do that.”

The county will contribute $50,000 toward a $500,000 study, bringing to $100,000 the total the county has spent in the past two years studying what to do with the aging Houston icon.

The remaining $450,000 for the latest study will be funded by the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Houston Texans, Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and Aramark Corp.

It’s been obvious for years that it’s time to demolish the Astrodome (which continues to cost us several millions dollars every year the decrepit building is standing). We’ve heard fantastic tales that it will be profitably converted to everything from a convention center hotel to movie studios to a planetarium. There has been nearly no limit to the absurdity of the proposed boondoggles — none of which have come to fruition (or will come to fruition without the commitment of taxpayer millions).

Astute Dem consultant Marc Campos wrote this about the $500,000 study: “If it truly is an honest assessment, then tearing down the Dome will be the most likely option so stay tuned!”

The problem is, it will not be an honest assessment. You (you being government, and other interested parties) don’t spend $500,000 on a study to tell you what is obvious. You spend $500,000 to tell you how to sell a boondoggle to a skeptical public. We fully expect the cost of demolishing the Astrodome to be exaggerated, and the boondoggle options to be heavily promoted in the final report.

So BH will offer this friendly wager to Campos — we’ll bet a nice lunch at the restaurant of your choice that the “best” option in the final report will not be tearing down the Dome.

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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX